Finding Your Fun Factor

Welcome to the August edition of Mind Gym: an invitation to find your inner child and infuse fun into your everyday life.

“All work and no play… can make Jack or Jill a dull boy or girl”

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was flying his new remote-control helicopter. He said to me “boys like their toys” and he then asked me what toys I had.

Source: Pexels

I had to think for a moment. As I pondered a little further, I came up with a few answers including: my new infra-red chargrill barbecue, my hybrid bicycle, my camera. It may sound a rather conservative list of toys but on reflection, these toys indicate what I enjoy doing with some of my free recreational time.

We all have a part within us known as our inner child. Try and imagine your inner child as a small child, playful curious, care-free, and fun loving. It’s vital that we give time, and space to express our inner child. Otherwise, we may find some parts of our life sabotaged because we’re not paying enough attention to our legitimate needs of fun and playfulness.

So, what do I mean by sabotage? Let me give you a few examples. Perhaps you are on a diet, and you might be finding it difficult to lose weight by trying to eat less. This goes well for a period of time but then all of a sudden you sabotage what you are trying to achieve by eating all the sorts of things that you know you shouldn’t be eating.

I wonder if you have any cravings or desires that you sometimes just can’t seem to get a handle on…perhaps you find it hard to go out and just have a couple of drinks. More often it turns out to be one too many. Spent too much on impulse buys while shopping recently? These song lyrics call these desires “bad habits”:

“When I get the urge / I just got to splurge / I’m a slave to all my desires / Well I’m in a mess/ Because I can’t repress all of these / Bad habits” Billy Field (1981)

Source: Unsplash

If we can allow that part of ourselves, which I’m calling our “inner child”, to have the opportunity to have some fun then we stand a better chance of not getting caught up in some of these less desirable activities or habits that we sometimes engage in. Now I’m not saying that the inner child is solely responsible for all of these activities but sometimes it can have a big part to play.

That’s why it’s important that we maintain a good work life balance which includes some healthy recreational activities that we really enjoy. The key is the fun or joy that we get from doing them.

One final thing before I share my practical how-to. Moderation is key. Working hard to play hard is not the right kind of balance. Perhaps a small cake or bar of chocolate can bring a little joy in the mix of your diet or a drink or two, for example. I’m not talking about excessive “bad habits”.

A simple exercise to understand what your fun factor is

Beware of some of the excuses that will come up: “Oh, I’m too busy for this sort of thing I just don’t have the time in my life with everything else that’s going on right now”. “What’s my partner going to say about this?”

There will be a number of objections or excuses to you being able to express your inner child and have some fun. However, you may start to find that you gain a little more self-control back in your life as a result of doing so.

It might be useful to join a team or invite a friend with a similar interest. You can also benefit from the social elements of doing something and some added motivation if you’re having doubts or are looking for less helpful habits to meet the needs of your inner child. Or as I said earlier, you may also need to work on some other parts of your mind to overcome some of the motivations behind the less desirable activities or bad habits that you adopt.

So, I’m going to encourage you to go out and create a habit of having some real fun and to stop trying to take life too seriously! It can actually do more harm than good for you, both at work and in your personal life including your relationships.

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